Use Social Media as the Spokes of the Wheel and Your Website as the Hub
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD
Most telephone answering services (TASs) have a website. That’s great! But not all do. They don’t think it’s worth the modest investment and feel social media serves them quite well.
I’ve even heard from services that are thinking about ditching their website in favor of using social instead. That would be a bad move.
Just Because Social Media Is Easy Doesn’t Make It Ideal
Social media is simple to use. Most of your staff is already adept at using the major platforms. And you likely have a platform-specific expert on staff who could help with any up-and-coming provider you might consider.
This is not the case with websites, which require a bit of expertise to manage and have a cost component, even though it may be small. But just because social platforms are easy doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.
With social media come significant risks, which you can smartly avoid by having your own website. Read on to learn more.
The Narrative is Harder to Manage on Social Media
The messaging on social media is challenging to manage—not yours, but everyone else’s. Anyone can say about anything in response to any one of your messages.
On some platforms you can block these offending messages, but on others you can’t. And too often these contrary messages spark an online war between your supporters and your detractors. No one wins.
Nowadays few websites allow for visitor interaction. And for those that still do, you—as the website owner—can delete the offending message. Your website is a safe place with relevant information about your business. Its free from trolls and malcontents.
You Can’t Control How the Platform Looks or Works
The wonderful thing about social media is it has a predetermined format for you to follow. Though you can control what you add, you have little say over where it goes or what it looks like. It offers little flexibility or customization capabilities.
Though some website providers follow this same philosophy, a self-hosted website offers a blank canvas for you or your design team to configure the way you want it and make it function however you wish.
You Don’t Own Your Presence on Social
I’ve saved the most compelling reason for last. You don’t own your page on any social media platform. Your provider does. They can limit who sees your messages. More infuriatingly, they can charge you so that the people who want to see your information actually can.
Even worse, they can summarily shut your account down at any time, leaving you with little recourse. When this happens you’ve lost all the traffic and the audience that you took years to build.
Owning your own website smartly avoids these problems and you falling victim to the whims of the social media overlords.
If you like social media, go ahead, and use it for your TAS. But don’t put all your eggs in one proverbial basket. Instead use social media to point people to your website, the one online destination that you can own and control.
And if you don’t like social media, don’t use it. Focus on your website. That’s what matters most.
Learn more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s book, How to Start a Telephone Answering Service.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of TAS Trader, covering the telephone answering service industry. Check out his books How to Start a Telephone Answering Service and Sticky Customer Service.